My Goodreads review: A beautifully written coming of age novel that directed us through the use of first person narration through the letters of the main character Charlie. Usually, I’m not a big fan of first person but in this case, it was plus. We saw the life of a young teenage boy in his middle school years and his encounter with others as a wallflower, someone who observes rather than “participates”. He’s scared to reveal his feelings and he journeys down the path of learning about everyone and along the way, a bit more about himself as well. Definitely worth a read! –> 4 out of 5 stars
The actual definition of a wallflower according to Merriam Webster Dictionary is “a person from shyness or unpopularity remains on the sidelines of a social activity”. Knowing the definition of a wallflower would probably help in understanding the book. In other definitions I’ve read, it also includes someone who would rather observe than experience, which is the definition I used above.
Our main character, Charlie is exactly like that. That’s also why we know his letters show how he viewed the situation and in many situations, would not do anything to help. He would only do what others told him to or follow through with his friends actions. Charlie’s story starts when he meets these misfits in school who weren’t exactly nerds but didn’t really side with the “popular” group. They had their own interests and didn’t bother with the other people around them much. Making these friends also lead him to explore the world of drugs, getting high, alcohol, love, dates, family ,Rocky Horror Show, friends, etc. just like most of us experience as students in our high school years. On the side, we also know he has some psychiatric issues that he seems to find useless but we learn that is actually haunting him when he finally acknowledges his feelings.
Charlie writes this book in first person narration (as mentioned above) with letters written to someone unknown. It actually reminded me of a novel I read in high school called Go Ask Alice. Being in first person really does help because we see Charlie’s world in Charlie’s eyes and being a wallflower, his observations probably are more accurate than even the person themselves. We also see how he does struggle to go out and do what is right by him and follow through his thoughts with action. He’s scared to lose the people he cares about and he would show them what he believes they want to see. Bit by bit, he gets thrown in situations where there is no other choice but to show his own feelings. This is what we get to see as readers: how he learns to stop being a wallflower, being someone on the sidelines and finally facing up to his own problems with his own solutions.
Its really a nice read. Of course, I don’t find it as much as of impact as other coming of age books. They don’t make the situation too extreme but they also do explore a lot of high school issues that we’ve experienced when we were (or are) at that age. Its makes you question whether being a wallflower is a good or bad thing. It gives us the idea of how there are moments when we really should step up and be ourselves, because when you’re a wallflower, you don’t voice your opinions and you possibly “lie” to the people you care about regarding how you actually feel.
Here’s the first book review. I’m still not completely sure how to write it out and what to look at, but I’ll be thinking of that as I do more. Any suggestions? Feel free to tell me. Hope you enjoyed!